NEW DELHI

Congress PEC to meet today

NEW DELHI SEPT. 26 . Amid high expectations from the party ticket aspirants and the fear of the axe falling on sitting MLAs, the Congress Pradesh Election Committee (PEC) is scheduled to meet on Saturday. The PEC, which has been loaded with anti-Sheila Dikshit leaders, will make an effort to scrutinise the list of prospective candidates submitted by the District Congress Committees and finalise the names to be submitted for consideration of the All-India Congress Committee. It is expected that the PEC would leave everything to the party president, Sonia Gandhi, for a final decision.

The 12-member PEC has drawn flak within the party in view of inclusion of certain people. But the high command is untouched by the voices of dissent and is looking forward to PEC meeting being a smooth affair. In fact, the rivals of the Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, are reading a lot of things in the constitution of PEC and the coming days could witness a battle for supremacy within the party. In fact, despite the three Ministers of the Sheila Dikshit Cabinet finding a berth in the PEC, not all of them are expected to support the Chief Minister in the meeting in case of a clash or dispute. "The entire PEC has been loaded with people who are anti-Chief Minister. It is not going to be an easy affair for Ms. Dikshit and things could really go bad if the others have their way,'' remarked a senior party leader.

However, many within the party are of the view that the constitution of the PEC should not be hyped up in any way as it has little importance in the current scheme of things. In fact, many point out that the PEC constituted during the MCD polls hardly played any role in the finalisation of party tickets and ultimately it was the then party general secretary, Kamal Nath, who had his way. In this context, it is pointed out that the present PEC may end up passing a one line resolution authorising Ms.Gandhi to decide everything. But a large number of leaders are of the view that the PEC should sift through the applications or the list of candidates that have been recommended by the blocks and districts so that the unwanted elements and deadwood is eliminated at the preliminary stage.

Observers feel that as per Congress tradition, the final decision would only be taken at the level of the Congress president. It is possible that a sub-committee could be constituted by the high command to scrutinise the list of candidates in all the Assembly segments and then put up the final product before the Central Election Committee or the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) headed by Ms. Gandhi. It is here that the role of AICC leaders gains importance as many of them have their own set of loyalists in Delhi and the lobbying for seats could get not only competitive but also bitter.

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